Tips for buying the right car for your business

Which make and model's best when buying a company car or van? From insurance to environmental considerations, use these tips to help you decide

If you run a small business or a start-up, it’s likely you will need to consider investing in a company car or van at some point, whether you are distributing cheesecake or running a mobile beauty business.

Choosing a used car will keep costs low, regardless of your sector. It was reported that a record number of used cars were sold in the first half of 2016, illustrating their rising popularity.

But how do you decide what make and model to go for and what other factors should you consider? Our tips are here to help you select the right car for your business, while saving you money along the way.

Choose a trusted manufacturer

Comparing manufacturers might seem as simple as choosing the cheapest deal, but if you’re buying a used car then you want it to go the distance.

Picking a good car producer means the vehicle you buy is likely to be of a higher quality and one that garages will have plenty of past experience with.

Interestingly, BMW is one of the most searched for manufacturers from buyers who are looking to finance their next used car.

Data from Motors.co.uk, a portal for those looking to buy and sell cars, also highlighted that the BMW 3 Series was the third most viewed model on the site in July 2016. It was topped by the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta.

As well-known, high quality manufacturers, it’s worth taking a look at the most researched models that are offered in your area. This method provides an ideal starting point for your used car search. Note down different models that interest you and consider talking to your local dealer about the cars’ suitability for your needs.

Don’t forget insurance costs

As a growing company, it’s important to keep your overheads low. When deciding on which used car is right for your business, you should keep insurance costs at the front of your mind.

This is particularly key if multiple people, all with different driving histories, will need to be insured on one car. Smaller cars tend to be cheaper to insure. If you’re looking for something bigger, however, then look out for cars with a high safety rating. This will have a big impact on their insurance costs.

Pick the right size

When you’re looking into buying a car for your business, you need to make sure it’s the right size for your needs. Decide what the main purpose of your vehicle will be – transporting goods, business travel, long distance use, or something else entirely.

Consider the amount and type of space you need. Will three doors be enough, or do you need five? Will you need to park it in narrow spaces? Should the doors open out, or slide across to allow you to easily get something in and out of the back seats?
Search for used cars that suit your needs. Once you’ve narrowed down the models you’re interested in, it could be worth hiring a vehicle you like for a few days to test it out.

Consider going green

Do you make regular, short journeys? Perhaps you operate a door-to-door sales business, or your company makes deliveries in the local area? Electric cars and vans are far cheaper to run than diesel or petrol cars, at an average running cost of 3p per mile compared to 12p for traditional vehicles.

They are also much more efficient for city travel. If you’re a London-based company, then you’ll have over 1,400 charging points to choose from. What’s more, you’ll be exempt from congestion charges, so an electric car is a worthwhile consideration.

Don’t choose a classic

Cars are more delicate than we imagine, and sometimes they’ll break down. Skip the classic vintage cars and choose something a little more sensible. Pick a used car that still attracts lots of drivers and was sold widely when it first came out. This way, there should still be a lot of spare parts in circulation, meaning any repairs you may need should be relatively inexpensive.

Once you’ve decided what your key business needs are and set out a budget, buying a used car for your company will be a breeze. If you’re VAT-registered and buying a car solely for business use, you can even claim back the VAT, as long as it’s marked on your invoice!

Find a dealer online and, with these tips, you’ll soon be driving away with a vehicle that’s fit for purpose.

Jim Knowles is a car enthusiast who spends his spare time writing about and reviewing both used and new cars.

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